How To Tell the Truth when It Hurts
It can be hard to tell the truth.There are many different ways to tell a hard truth, from an awkward moment when you let a friend know your pants are undone, to telling a romantic partner that you have issues with the relationship.It's generally the right decision to tell someone the truth.It leads to honest and open communication about how to move forward.Being open minded and using kind language will help you get through a hard conversation.
Step 1: Ask for permission.
It is a good idea to let the other person know that you are interested in having a difficult conversation.Do you want the person to talk to you?Allow the person to have a bit more time and then ask again if they say no.Sometimes people need time and space to process what someone has to say.Asking permission will set the stage for a more meaningful conversation.I need to talk to you about something that might be hard.Would it be okay with you if we set some time aside to talk next week?There are some things that I want to share with you.
Step 2: You can choose an appropriate setting.
You can find a quiet place to talk.There are some less serious truths that can be told in public places.It is best to choose a safe environment where you won't have to worry about being overheard or making a scene.A home is a good choice.You can take a walk.
Step 3: Something positive is what you should open with.
It is important to avoid being accusatory or offensive when talking.You want the other person to know that you care.Introduce the topic with a positive phrase such as "Peter, you're one of the most important people in my life, so I feel like I need to tell you..." and then move on to the meat of your conversation.For situations in which you aren't as close with the other person, such as in a work environment, choose a positive that is a little more formal.If you know the person well, you can say something like, "Kelly, I'm concerned, but you have a really great knack for analysis."
Step 4: Prepare the other person.
It is a good idea to make sure the other person knows they are in for a potentially difficult conversation.Just to be sure, reiterate your intentions before beginning the conversation, as you may have already told them that you have something tough to say.Let them know that it might be hard for them to hear, but that you think it is worth it.The tone of the conversation should be built on respect and trust.If we can discuss this, it will strengthen our relationship, because I know this is going to be a hard conversation.
Step 5: Don't beat around the bush.
You might be tempted to talk about work or the weather in the first thirty minutes, even though it is hard to tell the truth.The conversation won't get easier if you put it off.Get down to business and summon up your courage.If you want to start the conversation with someone that you care about, you should put it off for a minute.
Step 6: A good tone and appropriate language is what you should use.
Instead of speaking in a loud, aggressive voice, try to use a calm and loving tone.Pick language that is kind and non-threatening and allow the other person to formulate an opinion.You should say things in terms of how they make you feel.They'll understand that their actions had an impact on your feelings if you say "I felt really hurt when you did this" instead of "you shouldn't have done this."Bring in a few positive things that they do that make you feel good, and use them as a way to point out why you find the negative actions so cruel.You haven't been in contact with me for a week, that's why I'm so hurt.
Step 7: Think before you say something.
Before responding, take a second or two to process what has been said.You want to be honest, but make sure you have a constructive way to say it.This will keep the conversation open and genuine.If someone criticizes you during the conversation, don't respond with "that's not true!" or "you suck!" Instead, take a few minutes to think about what the person said and reply with something like "I appreciate your honesty."
Step 8: Be kind, but be honest.
Say what you want and need to say since you have already told the truth.Do it in a kind way.When it comes to saying the hard things, trust your gut.If you think it will make a difference, force yourself to say something harsh, but use the best language you can.It will be hard for someone else to hear what you have to say.If you need to tell a significant other that they aren't giving you enough emotional support, you can say: "I realize that you're trying to be supportive, but when you text me 'good luck' instead of showing up at the game, it makes me feel a littleThey will realize that your intentions were good the whole time if you have said things in a kind way.
Step 9: You should expect the unexpected.
If you are honest, you may not get a positive response.Even if you don't anticipate what the other person will say, they could respond with anger or judgement.You should know that there is a chance that you will walk away feeling upset.Don't let this stop you from speaking out, it's still important to express how you feel.You will have more peace of mind knowing that you tried.
Step 10: Leave room for quiet.
It might take someone else by surprise.Give them time to respond to you.If you ask a hard question or make a big suggestion and the other person doesn't respond immediately, it's probably because they're trying to understand what you've said and how to best proceedDon't be impatient.If they do not respond right away, don't bother them with more questions.Leave room for thought.If you push them to talk before they're ready to, they may get upset and say something that will make the situation more difficult than it already is.
Step 11: Accept criticism.
When you bring up something that troubles someone else, they will retaliate with something similar to what you have done.If you refuse to listen to criticism, the conversation won't go anywhere.Keep an open mind and be prepared to hear some truths about yourself.Don't say something like "that's not true" and then argue.Accept what they have said and try to work on it.They'll know that you're receptive to change if you let them know.
Step 12: The door should be left open for more conversations.
It is important that the initial conversation is not rushed.It is possible that you need to make time for more than one talk.Call it quits for the day if you feel like the conversation has stopped and give yourself and your partner a few days to think about it.Say something like, "I think we have talked enough for now."This conversation should be resumed in a few days.
Step 13: Take a next step.
You should make sure that both people know what the conclusions and expectations are after a few talks.Someone is bound to get upset again if things are left up in the air.Stick to the resolution if you agree with it.Say something like, "So we are in agreement then?"Next time, we will both.
Step 14: Seek the help of a professional.
Seek advice from a professional if you can't come to a consensus on your own.Speaking with a counselor, attending a group therapy session, or even finding a trusted friend to mediation can help shed light on the issue at hand.Say to your friend, "I think we would benefit from meeting with an objective third party."Would you be willing to discuss this with me?